The sound of my alarm startles me awake. I nearly hit my head on the oak nightstand next to the bed trying to shut it off. I sigh as I exhale realizing at this point there's no returning to my peaceful slumber now. I stumble into the bathroom, I turn on the shower, and I brush my teeth with my eyes closed wishing I had gone to bed earlier. I step into the shower and, although the water is scalding hot, the tile on the shower floor feels like ice on my feet. I stop for a brief moment and realize that like a programmed machine, I'm repeating the same routine that I do every day. But today's not just another day. Today is the day of the quest. My quest.
I finished getting dressed, walk through the kitchen, and open the door to the garage. It's completely dark save one small red light to my left. I reach for the light and press my favorite illuminated, red button. It's my escape button to a temporary freedom where the world and its cares disappear. The garage door motor whizzes to life, lifts the door, and reveals more darkness outside. It's early; I'm leaving early today. The garage's overhead light casts shadows on the floor from two machines eagerly awaiting the task at hand. Only one is actually capable of making this journey with me. I unlock the door with the fob and the headlight beams sharpen from a dull, light blue haze to a crisp, concentrated, vibrant blue. I slide into the leather seat. It's as cold as the tile in the shower. I push one more button and six cylinders stir to life. I back out and we're on our way.
I navigate a few city streets before reaching the interstate. The sun is just starting to come up as I turn to the east. I've got a couple states to cover in a relatively short amount of time. I chase the sun for hours. I cover a state and a half before stopping for fuel and food. I'm making good time. "I left in plenty of time," I think to myself. More than five hours pass before I reach the first point on the way to my eventual destination. I'm here to get a crucial tool for my quest: the glorified car hauler. I fill out the paper work, walk outside, and gaze at the piece of rental equipment for which I just signed away my life in exchange for its use. "Why is this trailer so ridiculous? It looks as if it were built to carry a tank but isn't long enough to carry a crew cab truck." I hook it up and begin to question the six cylinders' capability of pulling a trailer that looks as though it would be better served behind a semi. I'm only a few miles away from what I've come so far to see. I have done this so many times and returned home empty handed. "Don't get your hopes up. Don't get your hopes up."
I'm going to meet a man I've been in contact with for weeks now. He's been incredibly patient and catered to my every query. He's provided descriptions and pictures of everything via email. "I'm beginning to trust a stranger, again. Don't get your hopes up. But he's gone above and beyond any of the previous lazy sellers I've come across. He's even highlighted items of concern, for which I didn't even ask. He has covered everything. He's a seller like me." I wrestle internally. I pull into the facility where he works, and I spot it from the guard shack at the gate. For a moment the skies part and the sun shines on a single parking spot reflecting its midday light off of blue painted steel. I begin to smile, but immediately stop myself short of becoming overjoyed before I even get close enough to review it in detail. "Be pessimistic." I tug the battleship of a trailer around the parking lot and park just behind it. The seller is standing there waiting for me.
I ask a few questions and begin carefully inspecting each body panel. I expected more rust. It looks much, much nicer than the one I owned over a decade ago. "Could this finally be the one? I'm so picky. I've got to be selective. Will I pass on yet another one? I'm growing weary of coming home empty handed." Thoughts rattle around my head like marbles. I complete my personal inspection routine and make up my mind. This one is mine. This quest is over.
I would venture to guess at some point in almost every auto enthusiasts' life, there's at least one quest. Large or small, near or far, there will more than likely be that one quest. It's the quest where your personal unicorn just doesn't exist in your area without missing hooves, broken horns, or mange in the form of excessive rust, serious body damage, and missing parts. So we take a gamble. We search and search until we come across "the one." It's that one that we sometimes logically or illogically convince ourselves is the one for us. The price is within our reach. The appearance and mechanical failures and shortfalls are acceptable to us. It becomes ours and we'll justify its nuances until the end of time… or until we find the next one.
I completed my quest. What's yours?